Lupita Nyong’o took aim at Harvey Weinstein, amid his rape scandal.
On Thursday, the actress released an op-ed for the New York Times, where she claimed to have been harassed by the Hollywood producer when she first hit the Hollywood scene.
“I have been following the news and reading the accounts of women coming forward to talk about being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein and others. I had shelved my experience with Harvey far in the recesses of my mind, joining in the conspiracy of silence that has allowed this predator to prowl for so many years,” she wrote. “I had felt very much alone when these things happened, and I had blamed myself for a lot of it, quite like many of the other women who have shared their stories.
“But now that this is being discussed openly, I have not been able to avoid the memories resurfacing. I have felt sick in the pit of my stomach. I have felt such a flare of rage that the experience I recount below was not a unique incident with me, but rather part of a sinister pattern of behavior.”
According to Nyong’o, she first met Harvey in 2011 at an awards ceremony in Berlin, while she was a student at the Yale School of Drama. She went on to recall an encounter with the producer, where she described Harvey as “pushy and idiosyncratic more than anything.”
Following her initial meeting with Weinstein, she received an invitation to watch a film at the producer’s home. However, according to the actress, Weinstein announced that he wanted to give her a massage. “For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe,” shared Nyong’o. “I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one instead: It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.”
Later on, the Star Wars star retold an instance where she dined with Weinstein in New York City and was asked if they could enjoy their meal in a private room upstairs. Nyong’o declined.
“We got up, having not eaten anything, and he led me out of the restaurant. My heart was beating very fast. A cab was hailed for me,” she shared. “Before I got in, I needed to make sure that I had not awakened a beast that would go on to ruin my name and destroy my chances in the business even before I got there. ‘I just want to know that we are good,’ I said. ‘I don’t know about your career, but you’ll be fine,’ he said. It felt like both a threat and a reassurance at the same time; of what, I couldn’t be sure.”
As for why the 34-year-old chose to break her silence now, the Kenyan-Mexican beauty explained, “I share all of this now because I know now what I did not know then. I was part of a growing community of women who were secretly dealing with harassment by Harvey Weinstein,” she wrote. “But I also did not know that there was a world in which anybody would care about my experience with him.”
Nyong’o concluded, “Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing. I speak up to make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance. I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence.”
Meanwhile, Weinstein and his team responded to Nyong’o’s claims in a statement to E! News.”Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force [in] the industry,” a spokesperson said. “Last year, she sent a personal invitation to Mr. Weinstein to see her in her Broadway show Eclipsed.”